A second contingent of mango workers from Vanuatu has arrived in Darwin, Australia. Another 160 seasonal workers will arrive on a NT Farmers' charter flight just as the Katherine mango harvest is getting underway.
Despite calls from Senator Sam McMahon and others, the workers will have to spend two weeks in Howard Springs quarantine. Because of the lateness of their arrival and the risk to the harvest, there had been calls for them to quarantine on farm.
Still, these workers had to go straight into quarantine at Howard Springs, for two weeks. Even though the harvest has already started. And even though Sydney-siders were allowed free access to the Northern Territory from last Friday and New Zealanders will enjoy the same free passage from this Friday. Vanuatu has had no cases of coronavirus.
"It makes no sense to anyone," the nation's biggest grower of mangoes, Nino Niceforo of Katherine says. "We have secure accommodation on farms let them isolate there, and still go out working. There's been zero cases of COVID in Vanuatu, you can't say the same for NSW or Sydney yet they have to quarantine."
The first planeload from Vanuatu arrived early last month and, after quarantining for two weeks, have done the heavy lifting literally with the mango harvest in the Darwin rural area.